Australia v England, 1st Test, Brisbane November 24, 2010

Roles reversed as Ashes battle arrives

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Match Facts

November 25, Brisbane
Start time 10:00 (00:00 GMT)

The Big Picture

The latest instalment of the 133-year Australia-England battle begins with one team trying to form unity out of disarray and the other hoping their perfect preparation turns into an Ashes win. In modern times it has been England who have had to agonise over injuries and form issues, but this time it is the hosts who have all the major issues.

Ricky Ponting's men start the series on a three-game Test losing streak, a sequence of results that hasn't occurred since 1988. That was also the year that Australia last lost at the Gabba. If England can re-write that part of history they will have a huge advantage over the rest of the series, which they only need to draw to keep hold of the urn.

England's tour has been incredible so far, with a couple of warm-up wins, including a strong performance against Australia A, and a draw. Almost all of their men are in form and their position has been so powerful that they sent their bowlers to Brisbane a few days early to acclimatise. If they have lost a bag in transit it would rate as their biggest setback.

The last time Australia lost the Ashes at home was in 1986-87, back when Ricky Ponting was 12 and Andrew Strauss was living in Victoria. Given the build-ups of the sides and the changes Australia have undergone, this is England's best chance for success. If they don't take it over the next seven weeks they will have to wait decades to run into their enemies at such a vulnerable stage.

Form guide

(most recent first)

Australia LLLWW
England WLWWW

Watch out for...

The destination of the Ashes almost relies on Mitchell Johnson's left hand. If he can bounce and frighten, and hurry and worry, England's batsmen then Australia will be more than halfway towards regaining the Ashes. If he is as loose as he was in the 2009 series, the locals will struggle to contain England's complementary batting order. The signs were good last week when he mixed a five-wicket haul with a century for Western Australia, but now he's back in the big time.

Stuart Broad was responsible for turning the Ashes last time and he carries the same power again. A bowler first, he is capable of bowling full for swing or changing his length to force the batsmen back. As a run-maker, he is strong and entertaining, and it is a shame his century against Pakistan at Lord's was sullied. His father Chris was responsible for lifting the urn in 1986-87, and the family name will never be forgotten in England if Broad can do it too.

Team news

Michael Clarke's back is the major worry for Australia but he has proved his fitness and Ponting does not consider him a risk. Peter Siddle will play his first Test since January after beating Doug Bollinger for the final bowling spot, and Xavier Doherty will make his debut. Usman Khawaja and Doug Bollinger are heading to Perth after the toss to play for New South Wales.

Australia 1 Simon Katich, 2 Shane Watson, 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 Michael Clarke, 5 Michael Hussey, 6 Marcus North, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Xavier Doherty, 10 Peter Siddle, 11 Ben Hilfenhaus.

England have known their best XI for months and there will be no deviating unless someone trips over a sprinkler head, or slips in the nets. No touring team since the great West Indies outfits of the 1980s has been so assured before a series in Australia.

England 1 Andrew Strauss (capt), 2 Alastair Cook, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Paul Collingwood, 6 Ian Bell, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 James Anderson, 11 Steven Finn.

Pitch and conditions

If the results of the Gabba this season are followed, the match won't last five days. The square remains soft from a spring of heavy rain, but the pitch is firm and a light shade of green. Showers are forecast throughout the game, with the cloud cover and extra moisture exciting the bowlers. Ben Hilfenhaus smiled broadly last night when he noticed it was raining. Add in the humidity and temperatures in the high 20s, and it's going to be a contest controlled by the fast men.

Stats and trivia

  • This will be Ricky Ponting's eighth Ashes series but he barely makes it on to the list of most England-Australia matches. Ponting's 31 games sit well behind Syd Gregory (52), Allan Border (47), Steve Waugh (46) and Colin Cowdrey (43).
  • The man at the ground with the most Ashes runs will be Graham Gooch, England's assistant coach. Gooch scored 2632 in 42 games, putting him in 11th spot, one ahead of Greg Chappell, Australia's new selector.
  • In 321 Australia-England Tests, England have won 99 and lost 132. In Australia they have succeeded 54 times, and been defeated on 85 occasions.
  • Anderson is the one visiting bowler who has played a Test in Australia before, but Trott and Prior are the only ones in the top seven who are on their Down Under debuts. Hilfenhaus has featured once at home, while Doherty has played a handful of domestic fixtures in Brisbane

Quotes

"A batting collapse probably had a big say in us losing the Ashes last time and we're very aware of the fact. We've spoken about it a lot, but sometimes the more you speak about things the harder they become."
Ricky Ponting on his side's recent tendency to lose wickets in big batches

"It's been a big build-up. It's obviously a very exciting thing, the prospect of representing your country in an Ashes series. We're standing here on the edge of it, so the guys are very keen to get amongst it and get off to a good start."
Andrew Strauss

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Meety on | November 25, 2010, 7:00 GMT

    Well - Peter Siddle I salute you!!!!! Ashes hat-trick, first since Warney! Hope your crying in your warm beer Landl47 - LOL!!! (I know the Ashes can't be won in one day but hey!)

  • POSTED BY Will90 on | November 24, 2010, 23:47 GMT

    Everyone seems to be forgetting that Bollinger was injured, and he could not bowl when Australia desperately needed him vs India. I would bring him back if and only if he goes the distance in the state match. His average looks impressive, but you cannot judge a bowler on his first 10 tests, before batsman have had a proper look at him.

    P.S. Bollinger was not dropped, George was.

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 23:47 GMT

    Why do all comments always go back to India? It doesn´t make any sense. And it wouldn´t matter if Australia and England were ranked 74 and 75 in the world. This is still the ashes and it is still the most important contest in the game. Ask Australian players if it is more important to win the world cup or the ashes and the ashes would always win. When did cricket become so bloody nationalistic? Why don´t you just enjoy the series or don´t watch it if you don´t like it. India is a good team at the moment. That India has had a couple of good years in test cricket doesn´t make the Ashes irrelevant. It should be a good series in South Africa (although I think SA should win that one at home) but that doesn´t overshadow the Ashes in the slightest.

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | November 24, 2010, 23:29 GMT

    It is Swann vs aussies. Nothing else. I am not sure aussie batsman can hanlde swann's guile. Swann improved lot.

    Also Strauss batting improved lately because he has not batted against zaheer khan for a while. :). His captaincy is decent.

    Without kevin pieterson firing , england won last ashes. I think kevin will play well in this series and England will beat Aussies.

    The problem with aussies is selection. They have players who can not play well in pressure situation. Before mathew haydon was there to counter attack in any situation with symmonds grafting in middle order.

    Ponting is iffy nowadays but he is still very very good in bad form. Clarke is a grafter and he should play grafter. if he try to be aggressive agaist swann he will fail. Aussies are afraid of failure including the selectors!.

    It could even be 5-0 for england if they apply pressure constantly and play like emotionaless professional team. Say nothing in the media is the key advice for england players.

  • POSTED BY Nerk on | November 24, 2010, 23:24 GMT

    If Indian fans want to talk about mediocre cricket perhaps they should talk about NZ, oh wait, they nearly lost to them TWICE! And anyway, everytime anyone plays England (including India) there is hype, because there is nothing better than to beat the English in cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 22:49 GMT

    Bob Simpson once said that there there is never a weak Australian Test side. England will have to be wary and take constant guard against Australia. They are playing at home and Australia will have the crowd behind them. But this is a team without the big names of the past. England too have problems in the batting department and if Pieterson comes good it will inspire the others. But on balance the teams look even with the advantage slightly favoring England. This is so because Australia were beaten by India in the last series and Pakistan, in England, showed that it is possible to play well and rattle the Aussies. Ponting's aura of invincibility is no longer there and if England wins the first Test Australia will be further exposed.

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | November 24, 2010, 22:45 GMT

    Come on all you Indian fans, if you stopped watching when your team was ranked 4th/5th or lower in the world you would only have seen a handful of series in the past 80 years. ;) Enjoy.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | November 24, 2010, 22:40 GMT

    To all our Indian friends, I'm sorry you don't see why this tournament is so important to Australian and English supporters, but take it from me, it is. If it's any consolation, I have no idea why people in India get excited about a T20 tournament in which the players' only interest is how much they get to put in the bank, but judging from the size of the crowds, they do. Each to his own. Luckily, you don't have to watch the Ashes, because India are playing South Africa. I hope you enjoy that series.

  • POSTED BY ashes61 on | November 24, 2010, 22:38 GMT

    Ashes series over-hyped? Don't understand all the excitement? For goodness sake, where have you BEEN for the last 128 years? Since when have ICC rankings - a very recent gimmick which would certainly appear to be VERY over-hyped - mattered one jot? When West Indies ruled the roost or Australia dominated world cricket, we didn't need ICC rankings to tell us who was at the top - and by some distance in those two cases. At present there is no side standing clear of the field, a very healthy position, with S Africa, England, Sri Lanka & Indiia all about equal in standard and recent results. India's ICC rankings? But the game has died out in that country! Match after match after match - empty grounds! (Pop. over 1 bn, & previously cricket mad). If you like cricket, go to a match! And by match, I mean a Test Match, not one of those meaningless, money-laundering, corrupt and ridiculous T20 irrelevancies going by the name of IPL. Nor an instantly forgettable ODI. Open your eyes, India!

  • POSTED BY Panchu on | November 24, 2010, 22:23 GMT

    Stop already! Two mediocre teams playing yet another over-hyped, useless series in the name of 'tradition'. Who cares? It was probably relevant 50 years ago. Not anymore. I want to know what percentage of Australian and English population really care about this.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | November 25, 2010, 7:00 GMT

    Well - Peter Siddle I salute you!!!!! Ashes hat-trick, first since Warney! Hope your crying in your warm beer Landl47 - LOL!!! (I know the Ashes can't be won in one day but hey!)

  • POSTED BY Will90 on | November 24, 2010, 23:47 GMT

    Everyone seems to be forgetting that Bollinger was injured, and he could not bowl when Australia desperately needed him vs India. I would bring him back if and only if he goes the distance in the state match. His average looks impressive, but you cannot judge a bowler on his first 10 tests, before batsman have had a proper look at him.

    P.S. Bollinger was not dropped, George was.

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 23:47 GMT

    Why do all comments always go back to India? It doesn´t make any sense. And it wouldn´t matter if Australia and England were ranked 74 and 75 in the world. This is still the ashes and it is still the most important contest in the game. Ask Australian players if it is more important to win the world cup or the ashes and the ashes would always win. When did cricket become so bloody nationalistic? Why don´t you just enjoy the series or don´t watch it if you don´t like it. India is a good team at the moment. That India has had a couple of good years in test cricket doesn´t make the Ashes irrelevant. It should be a good series in South Africa (although I think SA should win that one at home) but that doesn´t overshadow the Ashes in the slightest.

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | November 24, 2010, 23:29 GMT

    It is Swann vs aussies. Nothing else. I am not sure aussie batsman can hanlde swann's guile. Swann improved lot.

    Also Strauss batting improved lately because he has not batted against zaheer khan for a while. :). His captaincy is decent.

    Without kevin pieterson firing , england won last ashes. I think kevin will play well in this series and England will beat Aussies.

    The problem with aussies is selection. They have players who can not play well in pressure situation. Before mathew haydon was there to counter attack in any situation with symmonds grafting in middle order.

    Ponting is iffy nowadays but he is still very very good in bad form. Clarke is a grafter and he should play grafter. if he try to be aggressive agaist swann he will fail. Aussies are afraid of failure including the selectors!.

    It could even be 5-0 for england if they apply pressure constantly and play like emotionaless professional team. Say nothing in the media is the key advice for england players.

  • POSTED BY Nerk on | November 24, 2010, 23:24 GMT

    If Indian fans want to talk about mediocre cricket perhaps they should talk about NZ, oh wait, they nearly lost to them TWICE! And anyway, everytime anyone plays England (including India) there is hype, because there is nothing better than to beat the English in cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 22:49 GMT

    Bob Simpson once said that there there is never a weak Australian Test side. England will have to be wary and take constant guard against Australia. They are playing at home and Australia will have the crowd behind them. But this is a team without the big names of the past. England too have problems in the batting department and if Pieterson comes good it will inspire the others. But on balance the teams look even with the advantage slightly favoring England. This is so because Australia were beaten by India in the last series and Pakistan, in England, showed that it is possible to play well and rattle the Aussies. Ponting's aura of invincibility is no longer there and if England wins the first Test Australia will be further exposed.

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | November 24, 2010, 22:45 GMT

    Come on all you Indian fans, if you stopped watching when your team was ranked 4th/5th or lower in the world you would only have seen a handful of series in the past 80 years. ;) Enjoy.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | November 24, 2010, 22:40 GMT

    To all our Indian friends, I'm sorry you don't see why this tournament is so important to Australian and English supporters, but take it from me, it is. If it's any consolation, I have no idea why people in India get excited about a T20 tournament in which the players' only interest is how much they get to put in the bank, but judging from the size of the crowds, they do. Each to his own. Luckily, you don't have to watch the Ashes, because India are playing South Africa. I hope you enjoy that series.

  • POSTED BY ashes61 on | November 24, 2010, 22:38 GMT

    Ashes series over-hyped? Don't understand all the excitement? For goodness sake, where have you BEEN for the last 128 years? Since when have ICC rankings - a very recent gimmick which would certainly appear to be VERY over-hyped - mattered one jot? When West Indies ruled the roost or Australia dominated world cricket, we didn't need ICC rankings to tell us who was at the top - and by some distance in those two cases. At present there is no side standing clear of the field, a very healthy position, with S Africa, England, Sri Lanka & Indiia all about equal in standard and recent results. India's ICC rankings? But the game has died out in that country! Match after match after match - empty grounds! (Pop. over 1 bn, & previously cricket mad). If you like cricket, go to a match! And by match, I mean a Test Match, not one of those meaningless, money-laundering, corrupt and ridiculous T20 irrelevancies going by the name of IPL. Nor an instantly forgettable ODI. Open your eyes, India!

  • POSTED BY Panchu on | November 24, 2010, 22:23 GMT

    Stop already! Two mediocre teams playing yet another over-hyped, useless series in the name of 'tradition'. Who cares? It was probably relevant 50 years ago. Not anymore. I want to know what percentage of Australian and English population really care about this.

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 22:14 GMT

    @ m owais..i hope indian smack the sa ,,no:1 test team when is the last time ur team paks win test series???

  • POSTED BY cricket_for_all on | November 24, 2010, 21:58 GMT

    @azharhassan and @ aditya.k: It doesn't matter ranked or tradition. But there will be good test matches between AUS and ENG due to good test pitches. No body wants to spend 5 days for a draw (Inida, SL and Dubai). Go ahead and give us a good entertainment. Good luck both teams!!!!!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY Leg_Theory on | November 24, 2010, 21:41 GMT

    As an Aussie fan, following cricket has never been so good. Much better than the dominating years. England look good and as much as I hate to admit - I think Broad and Swann may win ít for them.

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 21:26 GMT

    common morgan deserves to start intead of unreliable pietersen cos he sucks. morgan hasnt even been given a game on tour yet!!!

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 19:55 GMT

    Abbas Mehmood, let recollect, Indians won series IN england, WI , NZ, if not umpiring they would drawn in AUS, and last time when they played against SA, they lost 2-1. So indians can plays on bouncy pitches, only thing is supporters from PAK can digest.

  • POSTED BY Vaughanforever on | November 24, 2010, 19:31 GMT

    People seem to be struggling so I will explain clearly:

    Its not that we think that this is a battle for number one in Tests, its that we care about this historic series. To us its more important than a series against anyone else (India, Pakistan, SA or whoever). It just means more to Aussies and Poms than any other series, whatever our rankings.

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 19:22 GMT

    Yes..its gonna be interesting to see who is the 4th best in the game now :P

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 19:18 GMT

    Ashes brings its own legacy, when it comes to nail-biting and full stadium crowds. The current Aussie team has very bowlers... but who can match McGrath prediction of 5-0 win in the Ashes during English down under tour of 2006-07. Ponting seems to believe that this can be achieved, but has few worries, his current form, but he can pull things as he has shown in the past. I hope that Aussies bring back the Ashes. Wishing Good luck to both the teams. And hoping for a great cricketing event like always...

  • POSTED BY At..... on | November 24, 2010, 19:11 GMT

    I think Aussies have forget that they were the World Champions. But their recent performance is proving it wrong. Clark should know the responsibility of VC, otherwise some of the good players are waiting for vacant place in the team.

  • POSTED BY aditya.k on | November 24, 2010, 18:59 GMT

    @azharhassan - For a 133 year old cricket tradition, rankings do not and should not matter.

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 18:37 GMT

    It will be a fascinating month for test Cricket,,, The Ashes on one side and India vs South Africa on the other side........ Hope England wins the Ashes and South Africa smack the Indians!!!

  • POSTED BY omairhr on | November 24, 2010, 18:18 GMT

    why is Sachin Tendulkar's name not mentioned in the article?

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 17:45 GMT

    I think not picking Douggy is a mistake. I am an Indian fan and support CSK in IPL. Douggy bowled wonderfully well for CSK. If he could bowl that well in the Indian conditions, there is no prize for guessing how well he can bowl at the Gabba!! Coming to the outcome of this Ashes series, even though England are in good form, I would still back the Aussies to claim the Ashes this time at home!

  • POSTED BY azhar_hassan on | November 24, 2010, 17:00 GMT

    @AlfAlpha - Thanks for your wonderful insight! Still does not change the fact that a contest between the 4th & 5th ranked test teams is being hyped way out of proportion.

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 16:50 GMT

    should be a good game....moist and green... the fast men will definitely win it for the teams.... although watson is a much much better 5th option on this pitch than collingwood... the batting gives England the edge.

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 16:37 GMT

    indians can not play on bouncy pitches and they forget that they can not play on bouncy pitches again and again. And this is ASHES so indian can not play on bouncy pitches AND NO THEY ARE NOT PLAYING IN ASHES.............

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 16:27 GMT

    Cant wait for Ashes to start... even after being an Indian.. find this series far more thrilling. more this time. Especially start the Gabba.. amazing place for agressive cricket.. my vote: would love england to win but aint easy to beat aussies even now. thankfully we will have great commentary to listen ... god save us from commentary by arun lal, ravi shastri and sunil gavaskar.

  • POSTED BY royalg on | November 24, 2010, 16:08 GMT

    defo expect england to win the series, shud be 2-1 or 2-0 pretty confident, swann and broad shud be enough to destroy aussie batting line up

  • POSTED BY Fareen on | November 24, 2010, 16:02 GMT

    Peter Siddle for Doug Bollinger? What? And Ryan Harris showed today that he's fit enough he should be in the squad.Best of luck Aussies!

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 15:47 GMT

    No doubts........ England have a good chance but be ware of Aussies who will come up with better display and planning....I will cheer for England due to their fine form in recent series

  • POSTED BY Roshini on | November 24, 2010, 15:17 GMT

    Can't wait for the battle to begin. Exciting times ahead and the Urn should be fairly and squarely back on England's territory. On the current form Aussies are going to be just cannon fodders for a well settled English side. Sure Aussies dominated world cricket for so long on the back of legends like Hayden, Langer, Steve Waugh, Ponting, Gilly, Macgrath and Warne and If Australia think Ponting alone can battle it out, then it will be utter fool hardiness. Without the gone by legends any formidable team would lick their lips of beating Australia anytime anywhere. This England side will be all over by the time Ashes are done with and my prediction will be 3-1 favor England. Best of luck to both teams. Roshini Vaas - Homagama Sri Lanka

  • POSTED BY InnocentGuy on | November 24, 2010, 14:55 GMT

    Shakib says 4-0 is on the cards (and actually went on to do it!). Now what, England aiming for 5-0? :D I hope England win, but 5-0? Come on! I'm guessing England will keep the urn by drawing 1-1 or maybe winning 2-1 max.

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 13:39 GMT

    First of all I want everybody here to know that am an Indian... And for my beloved Indian fans just don't hurt the feelings of Ashes lover by saying this series as something between a lower ranked side contests... What really matters is the game.. And am sure its going to do hell a lot to the game of Test Cricket... And i wish England wins and cut down Aus dynasty once and for ever.

    And again to my Indian fans... We are no Aus or WI that dominated the world cricket for decades.. But well we may be on the road of it.. As people over here say we need to conquer Eng,Aus and SA beofre saying we are the undisputed numero uno...

    Jai Hind

  • POSTED BY pehamilton on | November 24, 2010, 13:20 GMT

    I'd imagine both Sky's David Gower, and the BBC's Geoff Boycott will both be at the ground for the opening morning, both of whom have more ashes runs than the aforementioned Gatting...

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 12:48 GMT

    where is BretLee????? Aus really missing him.last 3 loss AUS is facing a tough team in the world now. Ricky may retire if he lose this series, and @Thejana Yasanga Wickramasinghe why you srilankans now behind INDIA??? after one test win Sanga & Mahela talks tooomuch about ICC ranking and now a days all srilankans about INDIA. common ya

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 12:33 GMT

    Can't wait for Ashes to get started... Hopefully England will retain the Ashes...

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 12:29 GMT

    Australia seem to have run out of bowlers: by this time next year they will have run out of batsmen! England shall be looking for more competitive opposition in future

  • POSTED BY stormy16 on | November 24, 2010, 12:06 GMT

    The series has the makings of another great contest but the Gabba conditions could favor Eng. Would be really interesting to see how each teams copes with the role reversal of the favorties tag. There are no game breakers in either side (Warne, Flintoff, Gilly) just an old fashioned scrap on the cards which is great. Bring on the Ashes and for those of us who dont understand the significance of the Ashes contest being bigger than rankings contest please educate yourself on the history of the game, where it started and how it spread and how they travelled for months by sea to play the Ashes - this is a tradition, its got nothing to do with the rankings.

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 11:51 GMT

    Indians are gonna have their best time in South Africa.. Then all of em would shut up for ages..

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 11:50 GMT

    should be a great series. the gabba is result pitch and we could see some great cricket played

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 11:36 GMT

    england gonna win this ashes for sure.5-0 can also be expected looking at the form f the players

  • POSTED BY BenKrankenhaus on | November 24, 2010, 11:04 GMT

    Never liked Brazil winning it all....never liked Schumacher winning it all......and certainly never liked the Aussies winning it all....Go England!! God save the Queen...God save the Aussies!!

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 11:02 GMT

    I'm a kiwi and can not wait to watch the ashes, i hope rain doesnt affect the match but i would love to see some good swing bowling from hilfy and anderson

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 10:59 GMT

    Remember the song Ricky don't lose that number, well it should be Ricky you are going to loose the Ashes again.. Guaranteed I'll bet my house on it..http://i.imgci.com/espncricinfo/postComnt.gif

  • POSTED BY sameersky on | November 24, 2010, 10:55 GMT

    i would love to see aussie win, but the problem is they now have the man. greg chappell .. when he was coaching india, he got them knocked out first round, turned a great upcoming bowler irfan pathan to a batsman and finished his career,fought with the captain , saying he should be dropped.. well, now does he have guts to say drop ponting if aussie lose ashes. he has already finished hauritz without giving him a chance to bowl after wonderful last year. he has dropped bollinger, the best aussie bowler in last year.... have anyone seen the aussie team,its exactly same to last ashes series in england...except the spinner. so pray result is not the same...

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 10:49 GMT

    I think its a poor decision to bring in Siddle ahead of Bollinger, maybe its the 'Swann factor' that having 2 leftie pacemen would create rough for Swann to exploit. On current form England should walk it but maybe there preparations have gone a bit too well & a big fall awaits. Not only to they have to beat the Aussies but also the might of history - Australia not having lost at Brisbane for 21 years. Dont think they will give it up easily & England could be in for a rude awakening

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 10:45 GMT

    An ashes series is the cricket equivalent of the north west derby,ie manutd vs liverpool.irrespective of the emergence of the sugar daddy clubs like mancity,da fixture represents da red letter day f english football.da same can be said of el-classico.these contests r embedded in history,just like the ashes.here teams play 2 win,n dun bore us 2 draw

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 10:35 GMT

    lol i luv jimmy anderson being the leader of the bowlers even though his average outside of England is in the mid 40's!!!! lololol

  • POSTED BY jpa170478 on | November 24, 2010, 10:30 GMT

    A 133 year old Test Series, that in the last two times it has occured in England has been won essentially by a wicket or a few runs and people are wondering what is the hype. An English team that got thrashed last time around in Australia, but with an Australian team lacking a bit of form it makes for a close contest. India v South Africa is a huge test series for India, as they need to win these big series away to really stand up as a great team but have a long long way to go before they are champion teams like the recent Australia team or the all conqueries Windies of the 80s.

  • POSTED BY Gazzypops on | November 24, 2010, 10:19 GMT

    I think, even with "only the 4th and 5th ranked teams", the Ashes will be a spectacle of sorts. And, assuming deadlock with SAF v. PAK and a possible 1-0 win to SRI v. WI, any series win for ENG will put them 3rd very close behind SAF. A big series win (which won't happen) and ENG may well start 2011 in 2nd. Likewise, a hefty series win for AUS and they would be 2nd or 3rd. For all you Indians, yes, you have clearly the best team in the world just now - but remember which team was there a couple of years ago. And where they are now... As an England supporter, I've not really experienced much hubris recently.

  • POSTED BY AlfAlpha on | November 24, 2010, 9:49 GMT

    @azharhassan - well at least we can be reasonably sure the bookies won't be dictating the outcome of this one

  • POSTED BY AkilKapasi on | November 24, 2010, 9:46 GMT

    It really is quite funny seeing one or two India fans banging on about how this series isn't worthy of the hype. What they may don't understand is- that regardless of the position in world cricket of the two teams- this is still the Ashes, and it might be for fourth place, but it's still the biggest series for the people in either country. It might be overhyped, but there's a reason for it. People want it. Nobody's forcing you to watch or read Ashes related material. God forbid a conversation that doesn't revolve around India. My heritage is Indian, and India are my second team, but really, this jelousy is pathetic. I'm surprised you haven't been outraged by the Aussie selectors not picking Sachin for the first test......

  • POSTED BY Beertjie on | November 24, 2010, 9:44 GMT

    Ponting's autobiography should be entitled How to lose the Ashes - it'll be a best seller in England. Spot on, @inefekt! Moreover, they're going to let him play in Perth till Wednesday, lose at the Gabba and replace MJ with Doug at Adelaide. Playing the best three for Brisbane would have meant playing both Harris and Bollinger. I can see them leaving the former out to ensure he's ready for later action, but then Doug should have been a shoe-in, given the conditions. If there was any doubt about him, they could surely have taken a risk with Harris. Siddle is not the man for this Gabba pitch!!!

  • POSTED BY aussies_thebest on | November 24, 2010, 9:37 GMT

    Yeah cant wait for the first delivery at the GABBA. everyone is predicting England has got a best chance to win and they said the same thing when ANDREW FLINTOFF was captaining the side 4 yrs ago. what happened that time we all know very well. what was the result 5-0. who know it might happen this time too. i am not under estimating the ENGLAND SIDE, they have got some good players in the team, and yes they are in form too. lets wait and watch the result of the first test. MY BET IS ON AUSTRALIA will win the first test and it will hurt the morale of the ENGLAND team very badly. ANDERSON is a good bowler in ENGLAND where the conditions will suit him. but in AUSTRALIA it will be hard for him to swing the ball. last tour he got 3 wickets that's it. i hope same thing this time too. GO AUSSIES GO. BEST OF LUCK PONTING AND THE REST OF THE TEAM.

  • POSTED BY Mikecricket on | November 24, 2010, 9:34 GMT

    Yes the Ashes are here but most importantly it here in Australia. Come on The Australia and England The the last ashes test in Australia come back to you and you will Lose!!! come on Australia!!! First Ashes test in Brisbane Australia wins by 34 runs!!! Man of the match Shane Watson Second Ashes Test in Adelaide Australia wins by 345 runs!!! Man of the match Shane Watson Third Ashes test in oh Yeah Perth!!! Australia Wins by 2 runs!!! Man of the match Brad Haddin Forth Ashes Test in Melboune Match Drawn Man of the Match Andrew Strauss 5th Ashes test in Sydney Australia Wins by a Wicket!!! And Finally Australia WIN AND PLAY HARD GO AUSTRALIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY Tom_Bowler on | November 24, 2010, 9:16 GMT

    Got to love the Indian fans who think their current outfit is somehow equivalent to the great West Indies and Aussie teams of recent years. I suspect their upcoming tours of SA and England will be a nasty shock for a side with such a poor excuse for a bowling attack.

  • POSTED BY Amar_Teddy on | November 24, 2010, 9:14 GMT

    I would love to play Eion Morgan for the sheer unorthodoxy in stroke play much like a sehwag...cant sent field on one side for them...probably even as a keeper if not a genuine batsmen..also a left hander in the middle order will lend some balance to tackle X-factor of Doherthy...Who knows he can end up being a better keeper than Matt Prior if given a chance...

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | November 24, 2010, 9:08 GMT

    the selectors obviously have a reason for picking sid vicious. i would say about now is the time all the english players are starting to realise what they are up against and the fact that none of them have been successful down here, sleepless night from the pommy boys im betting all the talk and "form"and preparation counts for very little fellas. watch out england youre in the jungle now

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 8:53 GMT

    Really its going to be a amazing series a new beginning in the cricket world it will be interesting to see if kangaroos can hold on to their prestige , england have the greatest chance to come up with the goods, Aussie have struggled at home against India in 07-08 , Lost to Proteas in 08-09 and struggle even against the weak Windies English cricket is on the surge and they have played well in every format of the game in d last 1 year and looking ominous again and by the way england are rated above Aussie in the rankings so they are favorites any way :-)

  • POSTED BY cricket_for_all on | November 24, 2010, 8:31 GMT

    I never follow Ashes but I would like to see a test match (not 10 days matches). I hope AUS doesn't make utter dead pitches like now in India or my country (SL). Please provide us results pitches. I will at least watch Ashes this time during my free time (I need a test match plssssss!!!).

  • POSTED BY rickystan on | November 24, 2010, 8:18 GMT

    Lets start the ashes with a big bang. Go australia Go England. Go test cricket. This is going to be best series of the year. No draw tests please and play aggressive. Have fun and fight for every ball.

  • POSTED BY crow_eater on | November 24, 2010, 7:50 GMT

    And so it begins. If England are ever going to win over here then this is the best chance they've had in years. Dougy should feel a bit hard done by, would have been great to see Harris in there even. Looking forward to a great summer of cricket with Australia winning 4-0 (rained out Melbourne test). Can't wait!

  • POSTED BY phermon on | November 24, 2010, 7:47 GMT

    Tell us about why Strauss was in Australia as a youngy - you just drop the comment without embellishment. Just how South African is he supposed to be?

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 7:41 GMT

    WHAT A CROCK,SIDDLE IS A CRUDDY BOWLER, BOLLINGERS GOT IT ALL OVER HIM. GOOD LUCK GETTING WICKETS OUT OF HIM.

  • POSTED BY fembot on | November 24, 2010, 6:54 GMT

    But the big question remains: What's Warnie doing? Too old for a comeback? Back by Adelaide, mark my words.

  • POSTED BY azhar_hassan on | November 24, 2010, 6:43 GMT

    Ahh the Ashes! A contest between the 4th and 5th ranked test teams in the world to solidify the 4th spot in the test rankings? Should make for a great spectacle!

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 6:08 GMT

    Honestly, how does Siddle get a look in? Bollinger may be out due to his injury, but Siddle has also only just come back from injury. Ryan Harris and even Clint Mckay should be in the team over Siddle. Siddle never shows any consistency, and has only ever been dangerous for a few short spells in his career.

  • POSTED BY Ray24 on | November 24, 2010, 6:04 GMT

    I have been an Aussie cricket fan since Kim Hughes left and Border took over. After a few years of thorough beating, Border succeeded to lay the foundation for world-beaters. And I am not Aussie I see a few things that are going wrong with the Aussies right now. Ponting should drop down the order at 4 or 5. Clark and Hussey should adjust accordingly. Aus should try Hughes at 3 or maybe Marsh. Drop North and Siddle. Ponting is Aus best bat, and should realize that he is slightly slower than he was at his best. Dropping a number is no issue - Viv Richards did that and managed to prolong his career. If Ponting scores, Aus has the best chance of winning. He is a great player, a very successful captain and should be backed even if the Ashes are lost. To all the Indian who want Ponting to retire, its only because they don't want him to stay long enough to have a go at Sachin's record. Ponting and Kallis are the only 2 players within anyrealistic distance, albeit very far.

  • POSTED BY Nadeem1976 on | November 24, 2010, 5:51 GMT

    Lets start the ashes with a big bang. Go australia Go England. Go test cricket. This is going to be best series of the year. No draw tests please and play aggressive. Have fun and fight for every ball.

  • POSTED BY chad_reid on | November 24, 2010, 5:34 GMT

    FINALLY THE GREATEST AND MOST ANTICIPATED SERIES STARTS BEEN WAITING FOR A LONG TIME HOPING IT TO BE A THRILLER WHICH IT USUALLY IS BRING IT ON.

  • POSTED BY Bytheway on | November 24, 2010, 5:34 GMT

    The selectors are covering their backsides by dropping Dougy. Because if he pulls up with an injury they will cop it. It is the politically smart thing to do. Cover your own backside.

  • POSTED BY timohyj on | November 24, 2010, 5:17 GMT

    India SA series is way bigger than this, and why was Bollinger not selected?

  • POSTED BY simon_w on | November 24, 2010, 4:48 GMT

    @SugarFoot - Xavier Doherty's first class average is not even average, to be honest. Doesn't necessarily mean he won't perform well, though. We wait with bated breath...

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 4:34 GMT

    England is gonna win ! .. win strong ! ; )

  • POSTED BY Saad_Parekh on | November 24, 2010, 4:24 GMT

    Where is Ryan Harris? He should have been the choise ahead of Siddle. He was in exceptional touch before he found him self injured. More than anything he has experience that Siddle lacks. He is certainly a bowler who could effectively replace Bollinger in the side.

  • POSTED BY 1988dave10 on | November 24, 2010, 4:05 GMT

    I hat to break to you selectors, but this is a bad call! Come on, do the selectors remember the 1st Test in Cardiff, last ashes series, where a unbeaten 10 wicket partnership got them a draw and ultimely cost us the ashes. Who was in the side, Siddle. In addition, do they remember the boxing day test of two years ago, where south africa were 7/200 and ended up with 460 and went on to win the game and the series, who was in that side, Siddle. Siddle is a decent state cricketer and gives it 100% everytime, but he won't bowl sides out. He can take one or two wickets per innings consistently, but that doesn't win matches. Bollinger, whether 100% or not has more of a fear factor for the Englishman.

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 4:02 GMT

    everyone knows that Australia and England are not in the best form then why too much of hype for this series...

  • POSTED BY LeftHandedBeast on | November 24, 2010, 3:49 GMT

    Poor move in theory choosing Siddle over Bollinger-however we could all be eating humble pie if Siddle takes key wickets and plays a major part. It just seemed to be a better fit having Bollinger/Hilfenhaus, they can consistantly move the ball around which would allow Johnson to just bowl outroght pace. Having Siddle means they will get some respite as apart from cut of the pitch and minimal swing he is very predictable. Although i would have gambled on 4 quicks as Gabba is traditionally a pace bowlers paradise. Norths part time spin would have been enough if you needed a slow bowling option. Come on SugarFoot, Smiths bowling average is poor and he very rarely gets the ball in the right spot, England top order creamed him in the Australia A game-granted he is a better batsmen and marginally better fielder than Doherty there is no way he is a better bowler at the moment-needs to go to school and work on his line, lenght and variations before he can be considered for his spin bowling

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 3:41 GMT

    well lets see did aussies counter the SWING of james anderson???? instead of that they remove their most valueable SWING bowler, DOUGY. the only reason i can see might be that, SEDDLE has played ashes while DOUGY is new. but its not the good justification , i am hopeful if james anderson plays the music, then it will be one sided match. Good luck aussies

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | November 24, 2010, 3:37 GMT

    My reading of Bollinger being out is that he's not 100% fit/ready for the first test, and I wouldn't want to risk him given he's recovering from an abdominal strain. Siddle's better prepared at the moment, although if given the choice I would pick the Rug every time - provided he's fully fit.

  • POSTED BY matthewthorpe on | November 24, 2010, 3:28 GMT

    please remember that bollinger injured himself in india and has only bowled about 20 overs in shield game since then. no use having bollinger in the team if he is unfit and there's a chance that he won't last 5 days

  • POSTED BY AB99 on | November 24, 2010, 3:26 GMT

    Brilliant marketing has got more eyeballs for the No 4 vs No 5 team making the upcoming clash between No 1 vs No 2 a side event. Its as if as Murray vs Roddick getting a higher billing than Nadal vs Federer. I hope the Aussies loose and go to no 6 or 7

  • POSTED BY HatsforBats on | November 24, 2010, 3:25 GMT

    Nicely said landl47. I wish I had 50 years of Ashes memories to ponder, I'll just have to settle for 30. It would be nice if it was a great competitive series, but I'm afraid with Siddle in for Bolinger the odds have just shortened in Englands favour by some margin. (I can feel the anger growing inside me...Bollinger has to be injured otherwise I have been transported to the Twilight Zone)

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 3:17 GMT

    When did Siddle come into contention anyway? Bollinger, i reckon can be as dangerous as they can get!

  • POSTED BY BurmaStu on | November 24, 2010, 2:48 GMT

    Siddle in for Doug Bollinger? Where's the logic? Doug has been brilliant and while Siddle's a good bowler he just doesn't have the menace of the Rug! I just can't fathom this move at all. Thanks for nothing selectors

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 2:41 GMT

    Please Austarlia. Please win this Ashes Australia will win the Ashes, and I know they would they have every thing. I think I'am going to be one of those Fans that will watch every Ball live and stay up all night. The Ashes is one of my favoraite series. Please Australia win

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 2:21 GMT

    This has to be one of the most delicious match-ups in quite some time.. No matter what the results, but the series promises so much!

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | November 24, 2010, 2:20 GMT

    I've enjoyed the pre-game banter very much, but now that the game is almost upon us I just want to say that I hope it's a magnificent series, that everyone on both sides plays to their utmost capability and that both the cricketers and the fans accept the result in a sporting manner. England against Australia at cricket- it's always been the biggest thrill to me since I saw my first test in 1961 at The Oval. Aussie cricketers have always been tough to beat and they (and their fans) never give an inch, which is how it should be. Good on yer, mates.

  • POSTED BY Rusty_1 on | November 24, 2010, 2:11 GMT

    Terrible selection for Australia. Siddle over Bollinger? The selectors must be playing a practical joke right??? Siddle was ordinary in his last few tests & has been ordinary since his return from injury. Yea, he can bowl a few fiery spells, but he bowls far more ordinary spells that fiery spells. Bollinger has been our best bowler for 12-months. His non inclusion was one of the biggest factors in the loss in India & the recent ODI series - we were missing a genuine wicket taking bowler. If Bollinger has to go, then at least put in Harris, who will thrive in Brisbane & is in sharp form. It might be a tad melodramatic from me, but ashes over.... we have been doomed by poor selection of Doherty & Siddle to lose the first test match.

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 2:07 GMT

    are u kidding me siddle over are best bowler bollinger, it just sums up the kind of selectors australia has

  • POSTED BY Bone101 on | November 24, 2010, 1:52 GMT

    Gentlemen, start your engines!

  • POSTED BY SugarFoot on | November 24, 2010, 1:46 GMT

    I just DON'T KNOW WHY the selectors would go with Xavier Doherty - his first class average is average. I would have much preferred they used the spinning allrounder Steve Smith - for 3 reasons - has had more international experience / is just as good as spinner as Xavier Doherty / and a far superior fielder & batsmen. For ALL logic - I just can't make any sense of it. Go You Aussies, prove me wrong.

  • POSTED BY CricFan78 on | November 24, 2010, 1:42 GMT

    Aussies have handed over Ashes to England by calling in Siddle for Bollinger.

  • POSTED BY Stevo_ on | November 24, 2010, 1:37 GMT

    I think Siddle is a mistake. Bolly is the go to man on a green top

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | November 24, 2010, 1:25 GMT

    This is shaping up to be a great contest. Australia's batting form has been poor of late, but they will lift for the Ashes. England have their best chance in 20 years of beating Australia at home, and they will also lift accordingly. This is going to be a corker, for sure. I think England will have the edge over the series, but it'll be a 2-2 draw.

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 1:07 GMT

    It's goin' 'ome, it's goin' 'ome, IT'S GOIN'! THE ASHES ARE GOIN' 'OME!

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 1:04 GMT

    austrilai will win the ashes 5 to 0

  • POSTED BY Iceborn999 on | November 24, 2010, 1:01 GMT

    Dropping Bollinger was a huge mistake

  • POSTED BY 2.14istherunrate on | November 24, 2010, 0:58 GMT

    I was interested to read that Hilfenhaus was smiling. I'd love to see Anderson's face then. Or indeed one or two other Englishmen.

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 0:58 GMT

    sorry for england with all th high hopes and all, but the aussies will take the ashes 5 to 0.Thats what will happen.sorry folk, but thats the truth, at least my truth

  • POSTED BY JatinMehta on | November 24, 2010, 0:56 GMT

    England will certainly beat Aus at their own backyard this time. Pointing should resign from captainship.

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 0:52 GMT

    Aussie to win 3-nil with 2 draws I'm predicting. I'm a NZ but love watching the Ashes.

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 0:42 GMT

    I think there is way too much made of MJ. He is a one trick pony - over the stumps, ball moving away from the right-hander in the direction of the delivery. With a genuine in-swinger he might have been a handful - but he doesn't have one, so all you get is his stock ball, over and over again. The English might still give him wickets, of course, since the poms can always be relied upon to lose.....

  • POSTED BY inefekt on | November 24, 2010, 0:38 GMT

    Ok so let me get this right, the National Selection Panel have dropped a bowler that has just come back from injury that kept him out for maybe two months and who averages 23 with the ball in test cricket for a guy that's just come back from injury that kept him out for 12 months and who averages over 31 in test cricket. Surely this is a joke?

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 0:35 GMT

    i hope england win, as a nz fan anyone beating the aussies is awesome .. but the english bowlers are on their first trip down here, and that could make it interesting. aussie batsmen will not roll over without a fight, except north of course who will make one century in the 4th test .. jimmy and swanny are the keys

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 0:30 GMT

    goooooo aussies goooooo!!

  • POSTED BY Something_Witty on | November 24, 2010, 0:27 GMT

    Can't believe Dougy isn't playing. Given how well he has bowled previously, it is hard to see why they are leaving him out. - Unless he is still injured.

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  • POSTED BY Something_Witty on | November 24, 2010, 0:27 GMT

    Can't believe Dougy isn't playing. Given how well he has bowled previously, it is hard to see why they are leaving him out. - Unless he is still injured.

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 0:30 GMT

    goooooo aussies goooooo!!

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 0:35 GMT

    i hope england win, as a nz fan anyone beating the aussies is awesome .. but the english bowlers are on their first trip down here, and that could make it interesting. aussie batsmen will not roll over without a fight, except north of course who will make one century in the 4th test .. jimmy and swanny are the keys

  • POSTED BY inefekt on | November 24, 2010, 0:38 GMT

    Ok so let me get this right, the National Selection Panel have dropped a bowler that has just come back from injury that kept him out for maybe two months and who averages 23 with the ball in test cricket for a guy that's just come back from injury that kept him out for 12 months and who averages over 31 in test cricket. Surely this is a joke?

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 0:42 GMT

    I think there is way too much made of MJ. He is a one trick pony - over the stumps, ball moving away from the right-hander in the direction of the delivery. With a genuine in-swinger he might have been a handful - but he doesn't have one, so all you get is his stock ball, over and over again. The English might still give him wickets, of course, since the poms can always be relied upon to lose.....

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 0:52 GMT

    Aussie to win 3-nil with 2 draws I'm predicting. I'm a NZ but love watching the Ashes.

  • POSTED BY JatinMehta on | November 24, 2010, 0:56 GMT

    England will certainly beat Aus at their own backyard this time. Pointing should resign from captainship.

  • POSTED BY on | November 24, 2010, 0:58 GMT

    sorry for england with all th high hopes and all, but the aussies will take the ashes 5 to 0.Thats what will happen.sorry folk, but thats the truth, at least my truth

  • POSTED BY 2.14istherunrate on | November 24, 2010, 0:58 GMT

    I was interested to read that Hilfenhaus was smiling. I'd love to see Anderson's face then. Or indeed one or two other Englishmen.

  • POSTED BY Iceborn999 on | November 24, 2010, 1:01 GMT

    Dropping Bollinger was a huge mistake